June 9, 2022
Politicians vs. Families: The Great Disconnect (or, Have You Seen Your New Property Assessment Yet?)
By: John Crowder
Two ‘bombshells’ hit Pocatello residents back-to-back this week.
First, the Pocatello City Council, according to Pocatello for Accountable Government Entities (P.A.G.E.), a local government watchdog group, voted to direct City staff “to build the budget with a 7%+ INCREASE.”
Second, before the dust settled on that directive, residents began receiving their property assessment notices. In some cases, residents reported increases of 33% or more…some over $100,000.
Pocatello residents posting on social media were understandably furious. One read, “People are angry, scared of losing their homes, and feeling betrayed by local elected officials.” Another read, “When will people learn that all elections have consequences?”
This is, unfortunately, nothing new. We frequently see an incredible disconnect between our elected officials and the average resident, especially when faced with decisions on spending.
We are currently facing historic inflation, brought about by the foolish policies of the Biden administration. How must the typical resident respond when facing rapidly rising costs? They have no choice but to cut back on expenditures. Few of us have the option of increasing our income. That trip you were planning? It’s off the table. The club you wanted to join? It will have to wait. Weekly steak night? You’ll have to settle for hamburger night.
The same cannot be said for many of our elected officials as they plan government spending, though. Facing the same set of circumstances, we see them doing the exact opposite of what the average resident must do. They increase spending. Instead of limiting travel, they seek to justify more of it. Instead of cutting back on dues for outside organizations, they find new groups to join. Instead of looking at processes to determine where efficiencies can be had, the solution they routinely find is to increase staff and create new departments.
All these actions add to the crushing burden being placed on their constituents…especially those on fixed incomes.
What can be done? Here are three ideas.
First, start paying attention to what your elected officials are doing. Budget season is underway for Bannock County and the cities therein. You may not have time to attend government meetings (which aren’t typically held at times convenient for the average working person). But you can subscribe to or follow groups like P.A.G.E. (You can learn more about the group, here: Pocatello For Accountable Government Entities | Facebook )
Second, be careful with your vote. Don’t just rely on slick mailers during campaign season. In Idaho, “everyone’s a conservative” as elections loom. Follow groups, like P.A.G.E. and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, that report on the voting records of elected officials. Join with organizations that interview candidates to ensure that they will limit, not grow, government.
Finally, make your voice heard. On June 6, Anita Hymas for Bannock County Assessor posted on her Facebook page about the assessment notices. “Well the notices are right on track!! Be watching for them this week,” she said.
She went on to say, “Please look at your notices and make sure all looks okay and please call us with any discrepancies or any questions at all. Appeal forms are available just inside the 6th Avenue entrance to the courthouse.”
I suggest you take her up on her offer. You can reach the Assessor at 208-236-7260.
Editor’s Note: John Crowder is the Publisher of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer and a candidate for Bannock County Commissioner. He began the monthly Liberty Dinner Series to give those who support limited government an opportunity to meet one another, to hear from speakers on current issues, and to identify and elect like-minded individuals at all levels of government. Learn more about the Liberty Dinners, here: Wayne Hoffman, President of Idaho Freedom Foundation, to Speak at Liberty Dinner in Pocatello on Saturday, June 11 | Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer (pocatellochubbuckobserver.com)